A quiet day in the city meant time for more exploration. They still hadn't revealed all of Atlantis' secrets and Rodney was even more anxious to do so since his incident last week. John followed him down unfamiliar corridors, a couple of Marine lieutenants close behind.
"This one," Rodney pointed absently to a door without looking at it.
"Why that one?" John asked.
"Because, Colonel, I'm getting heightened energy readings." Rodney showed him the spike on his data pad.
"Fine, no need to get snippy, McKay."
The emphasis on formalities underscored how careful they had to be in public. It had been only a few hours ago that they'd lay naked and sweaty together, "John" and "Rodney" spilling from their lips in desire. Rodney moved out of the way so that John and the Marines could go first.
The room responded to John, like all of Atlantis did, the lights turning on and machines bursting to life with a happy hum. The Marines stood guard at the door as John grinned. Rodney glared as he walked into the room, taking readings and ignoring everything else.
"Hey, McKay, what's this?"
John reached out to touch a device that whirred and beeped as soon as he got close to it. A stinging slap to his hand had John moving away.
"Ow! What was that for?" He shook his hand, frowning at Rodney.
"How many times have I told you not to touch things? You have no idea what could happen," Rodney chided.
"You're one to talk. Remember last week?"
"Yes, well, in my defense I was just trying to turn it off."
"And got superpowers," John pouted.
Rodney waved him away as he consulted the readouts on his data pad. He muttered to himself, circling the device and entering data as he went. John watched, smiling to himself. Rodney in full geek mode never failed to turn him on.
Rodney started to reach for one of the buttons and John grabbed his hand.
"Hey, what happened to not touching?"
"I said you couldn't touch. I've scanned it and I think I know what it does. That button activates it."
"You think you know. Why do you get to push the button?"
"Because I'm a genius and head scientist in Atlantis."
"Well, I'm ranking military officer, and a genius, I should get to push the button."
The Marines just looked at each other and shrugged as John and Rodney continued to argue. It was always like this when exploring the city with those two. They pushed and shoved and shouted and in the end, pushed the button together. There was a flash of light, then nothing.
John looked at Rodney, who was frowning. He consulted his data pad again, pressing buttons before looking back to John. He started to say something but stopped when no noise came from his mouth. John tried to ask what was wrong but found himself with the same problem. One of the Marines activated his headset.
"Doctor Weir, this is Lieutenant Atwood. We have a situation with Colonel Sheppard and Doctor McKay. We're headed for the infirmary, I suggest you meet us there."
"On my way, lieutenant, thank you."
"Sirs," Atwood addressed John and Rodney, "we should go."
The two just nodded, leaving the machine whirring and beeping as they followed the lieutenants back to the heart of the city.
Elizabeth walked into the infirmary, John and Rodney sitting on the same bed, Carson hovering over them both. A nurse handed Carson a chart and he turned when he heard her come up behind him.
"I can't find a thing wrong with them," he said. "Their vocal chords aren't damaged, brain function is normal and their blood work is clean."
"So why can't they talk?"
"I have no idea, Elizabeth. It might have something to do with the device they found."
"Another Ancient device?"
"Aye, Rodney wrote it all down."
Carson handed her a notepad, covered in Rodney's cramped script, followed by John's more relaxed handwriting.
"I took the liberty of calling Radek and sending him to have a look."
"Thank you, Carson." Elizabeth turned to look at the patients. "Well, gentlemen, it seems that neither of you have learned anything from our previous encounters with Ancient technology."
The two of them exchanged looks then hung their heads, chastised.
"Now, I suggest you both take some time off until we can get your voices back."
Rodney raised a hand, but Elizabeth stopped him.
"No excuses, Rodney. I'm sure you're team will be able to get along fine without you. Now, go, relax."
John hopped off the bed, motioning for Rodney to follow. He did reluctantly, shoulders slumped in defeat.
"It may take a while for them to get their voices back," Carson said.
"Yes, I'm sure Radek was quite beside himself at the thought of having a silent Rodney."
"Aye, he was, he was," Carson chuckled.
They both watched as John and Rodney made their way out of the infirmary and into the city. There were bound to be a lot of the science staff, and others in the city, who would be glad for a few days reprieve from Rodney's tirades.
Four days later, Rodney was going crazy. He was avoiding John because he was convinced it was all John's fault. If the city didn't like John so much, whirring and humming just because he came into a room, they wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.
Rodney had tried to go to his lab only to be ushered out by Radek who insisted he was doing everything he could to reverse the effects of the device. Rodney didn't miss the mischievous gleam in Radek's eye as he turned back to his laptop. Everyone was glad that he couldn't talk.
So we went to his room to sulk. Only that didn't work very well because he was bored. He decided to go to work on the half dozen projects he never had time for normally. When the chime of his door sounded, he found several hours had passed. Rodney almost yelled 'Come in', but caught himself. He pushed away from his desk and went to open the door.
John stood there, tray of food in one hand, mysterious package in the other. He looked at Rodney, puppy dog eyes in full effect, his expression asking Rodney for forgiveness.
Rodney stood his ground, arms crossed, expression slightly angry; until his stomach rumbled and he gave in. John grinned as Rodney waved him in, the door whooshing shut behind him. He set the tray down and handed Rodney the package.
Rodney took it and ripped off the brown paper. His eyes widened when he saw it was the new Doctor Who series on DVD. He looked at John questioningly. John pointed to the sky and then made gestures that Rodney interpreted as a ship landing. The Daedelus must have come in.
Putting the discs down, he stepped towards John, giving him a hug in thanks. John wrapped his arms around Rodney, pulling them closer together. There was a tapping on Rodney's arm, which at first was annoying, but then he realized it was John and his brain kicked into gear. Morse code. I'm sorry.
Rodney tapped back, me too. They both relaxed, smiling at one another. Now they had a way to communicate. John nodded towards the tray. Rodney shook his head, pushing John towards the bed. Food could wait a little while longer. He was hungry for something else. John grinned and reached for Rodney's belt.
Lying there afterwards, Rodney decided there was an upside to not being able to talk. Relying on body language to figure out your lover's needs made everything so much more intense. His stomach growled again, so he untangles himself from John's body and padded over to the desk.
He was almost finished when he heard John stirring. Rodney turned to see him rubbing at his hair, which was already mussed. It was an endearing trait that never failed to make Rodney turn to mush. He held up the bowl of Jell-o and John shrugged nonchalantly. He climbed into bed and offered John the first bite. When John stole the spoon for the last little bit, Rodney reached for it with an indignant, "Hey!"
They both froze, realizing he'd said that out loud. Then Radek's voice crackled over the headsets sitting on the nightstand.
"Rodney? Colonel Sheppard? I believe I have reversed the effects of the device. Elizabeth wishes for you both to relax until tomorrow. You are to report to the infirmary in the morning."
John rolled over and grabbed his headset. "Thank you, Zelenka. Tell Beckett we'll see him at nine o'clock sharp. And let Elizabeth know I'll be keeping Rodney from the labs until then also."
"Very well, Colonel. And you're welcome."
John put the headset back, rolling to see a frowning Rodney.
"How can you say that?" Rodney sat up. "I should get down to the labs right now. Who knows what kind of mess Radek had made of them. I can't take another second off, I'm going crazy. Do you know….?"
"Rodney," John interrupted.
John pulled him down and pinned him to the bed. "Shut up." John kissed him senseless.